PlayStation Classic: The 14 PS1 Games We Want See On The Mini Console
By Jordan Ramée on
Classic PS1 Games
Taking a page out of Nintendo's book, Sony is producing a mini version of an old console that plays classic games. Called PlayStation Classic, Sony's upcoming console comes preloaded with 20 different PS1 games. Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms have been confirmed, but the remaining 15 titles are still a mystery.
We've got our own ideas as to what should be included on the PlayStation Classic. In the following gallery, we've laid out our choices for 14 games that we hope make it onto Sony's upcoming console. We've left one spot open, so let us know in the comments below which PlayStation game should fill out that final slot and why it deserves to be there.
The PlayStation Classic costs $100 / $130 CAN and will release on December 3, exactly 24 years after the original console launched in Japan. You can pre-order it right now.
First releasing in Japan in 1994, the original PlayStation spread to the west in 1995. For the following four years, hundreds of different games arrived on the console. The PlayStation would ultimately be superseded by the much more popular PlayStation 2 in 1999, but Sony's original console set the stage for some of gaming's longest running franchises and gave the Nintendo 64 some healthy competition.
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
If Sony wants its mini console to be a time capsule of influential games from the PS1 era, it’s hard to find a better inclusion than Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It seems as if every other week there’s a slew of new "Metroidvania" games hitting the market, and half of that moniker is due to this masterclass in game form and function. It defined Castlevania for a generation, and it changed action-RPGs forever.
But this is no staid relic or academic slog. Everything about Symphony of the Night holds up beautifully and is still fun to play today. The combat is so sharp and responsive that modern games like Dead Cells are praised for matching it. The RPG hooks are deep but not suffocating. The exploration is rich and varied and surprising. It's one of the pinnacles of the genre and the platform, and it absolutely deserves to be included. -- Steve Watts
To say that Chrono Cross had some big shoes to fill would be a massive understatement. Its predecessor, Chrono Trigger, stands as one of the 16-bit era's most impressive and memorable role-playing games, with an inventive time-travel focused narrative and several different endings over the course of its story. Chrono Cross would rekindle the same type of magic when it released on PlayStation, but it also did enough to make a name for itself.
Chrono Cross is still one of the original PlayStation's finest RPGs. Though it remains a contentious game among fans of the series, it still provided a memorable and heartfelt journey through time and space. Joining the lead character Serge was a massive roster of smugglers, rangers, magicians, and other vagabonds from across two parallel dimensions. Throughout the mostly non-linear story, you'd often head to places and run into people you'd least expect. Even without a fondness for the original, Chrono Cross works as a complex and involved RPG, and its spot in the PlayStation Classic's lineup would allow a new audience to see what was so special about it. -- Alessandro Fillari
Digimon and Pokemon have butted heads on a lot--anime, card games, and video games mostly--with the latter franchise winning out popularity-wise when it comes to games. In Japan, PlayStation's Digimon World came out about a month before Game Boy's Pokemon Red, and the pocket monsters beat out the digital ones in a landslide. That doesn't mean Digimon World deserves to fade into obscurity, though.
Bandai Namco's 1999 game has you team up with a partner--either Agumon or Gabumon--before venturing out and catching "feral" Digimon that you then train, raise, and evolve. Where Pokemon Red and Digimon World differ is in how you raise your monsters, with Pokemon solely focusing on growth through combat and Digimon relying on both battles and multiple systems of micromanagement, such as sleeping and feeding. Remember Tamagotchi? Digimon World is like that but in 3D and with an actual story. The game would be great on PlayStation Classic as something relaxing to check on between playing other titles. -- Jordan Ramee
While it was Grand Theft Auto that would go on to receive much of the acclaim and success (and huge amounts of money) with its open-world games, it was Driver that first offered a similar style of driving action.
Unlike the top-down games in the GTA series on PS1, Driver presented you with a third-person perspective not unlike that of Gran Turismo and Need for Speed, but it offered a wide-open world to explore. It's hard to overstate how thrilling the prospect of this was in 1999; you weren't bound to closed tracks, but instead were free to explore condensed versions of real-world cities like San Francisco.
While there are games like the Forza Horizon series that continue to offer open-world driving action, there's still nothing quite like Driver, with its thrilling, mission-based police chases and dedicated burnout button. It's been bested in countless ways, but its basic formula remains enjoyable to this day, and it well deserves a spot on the PlayStation Classic alongside any of the other, bigger-name racing games that Sony could choose. -- Chris Pereira
Grand Theft Auto 2
Fortnite might be the hottest thing going right now, but it's hard to overstate the sustained success that Grand Theft Auto V has enjoyed since its release. GTA as a franchise has been hugely popular ever since it went 3D with PS2's GTA III, and PlayStation Classic could offer a fun nostalgia trip (and history lesson) by taking us back to GTA's more modest days as a top-down action game. Rockstar has done this to a small degree with a special mode in GTA Online, but why not do it right and include GTA 2 in the PlayStation Classic?
Particularly for those who have played the GTA III-era of games but none of the earlier entries, GTA 2 would be a great way to see how many of III's ideas were already firmly established. Stealing cars, freely roaming the city, Rampages, wanted levels, side missions with vehicles like taxis, hidden packages--this was a game that firmly had the roadmap of GTA established. It simply took the less abstract third-person viewpoint of III to really catch on.
All of that aside, GTA 2 would be worth including because it remains very fun. -- Chris Pereira
Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver
As the years go by, it seems like the cult favorite Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is slowly getting lost to time. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and directed by Amy Hennig (Uncharted series), Soul Reaver is the quintessential entry in the long-dormant Legacy of Kain series, whose last entry released in 2003.
The game puts you in control of Raziel, a vampire lieutenant turned soul-sucking wraith after being betrayed by the tyrannical vampire lord Kain. Brought back to life by the Elder God, Raziel must embark on a journey across the desolate kingdom of Nosgoth to exact vengeance against his former master and vampiric brethren.
Soul Reaver's grim narrative and intriguing characters remain some of gaming's most memorable. Its combat system--which focused on taking advantage of vampiric weaknesses--is incredibly clever and creative. And its bevy of puzzles to solve and secrets to unearth still keeps you constantly engaged with the lore that covers the game's haunting world.
Sony could do right in including this dark gothic epic in the PlayStation Classic's game lineup--not only to remind folks what it is, but to give them an opportunity to experience one of the console's best third-person action-adventure games. Make it happen, Sony! -- Matt Espineli
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man has had plenty of spin-offs. Maybe too many. But even by the gonzo standards that brought us Mega Man Star Force, Legends is uniquely zany. Capcom's first attempt to experiment with Mega Man in full 3D produced a strange Zelda-like concoction with loot and dungeon-crawling elements. Exploring the ruins underneath a humble town uncovered mechanized destroyers--Reavers--and a compelling mystery about their origins and purpose.
It didn't work perfectly. Mega Man Legends was oftentimes difficult and imprecise to control, a side effect of new technology finding its footing. What set Mega Man Legends apart the most, though, was its lovable cast of characters. This was an early example of a game taking full advantage of the PS1 disc space with a staggering amount of voice acting, and each of them brought character and flavor to their roles. Mega Man and Roll were the earnest heroes, of course, and they were joined by a quirky cast of villains: the frazzled Teisel, take-no-guff Tron, and baby Bon-Bonne. It would be worth revisiting just to fall in love with these characters again--and revive demands for the cancelled Mega Man Legends 3. -- Steve Watts
Metal Gear Solid
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Metal Gear Solid was a defining game of the PlayStation era. Featuring a unique brand of stealth-action gameplay, Hideo Kojima's homage to western-centric military action films featured a remarkably mature story, coupled with some fourth wall-breaking weirdness that ultimately made for one of the 1990s' most memorable 3D games. And with the coming release of the PlayStation Classic, Metal Gear Solid totally deserves a spot on the throwback console's lineup.
What made Metal Gear Solid so groundbreaking at the time was that it was keenly aware of itself as a game. Along with some clever use of the then-new controller vibration, several moments throughout the game pulled tricks on players. In one of gaming's most iconic boss battles, the villain Psycho Mantis uses his mind-bending powers to read the protagonist Solid Snake's mind. But as it turns out, he was reading the player's memory card to name drop Konami games they played recently. While it seems like a neat gimmick, this was mind-blowing back in the day, and it's also a testament to the game's forward and out-of-the-box thinking. Metal Gear Solid, even today, is a remarkable game, and the PlayStation Classic would be sorely lacking without it. -- Alessandro Fillari
Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
If you thought Limbo was the world's first dark puzzle-platformer, you probably haven't played Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. In Abe's Oddysee, you controlled an enslaved alien who discovers the factory in which he and his fellow Mudokons are forced to work is preparing to turn them all into snack cakes.
That's when this unlikely hero burst into action, trying to escape the factory and save as many of his fellow slaves along the way. If you made one mistake, you'd get peppered with bullets, ground up by saw blades, mauled by dog-like creatures, or subjected to other, even worse fates. It was a tough game, but by the time you made your way to freedom you probably loved the doofy, farting protagonist. -- Chris Reed
Resident Evil 2
Following up on the original Resident Evil's success, Resident Evil 2 took things much further. Bringing the scares and sense of dread to an overrun city, the sequel introduced two of the series' most memorable characters and upped the stakes by making their struggle for survival more of a connected journey. While the original game introduced the concept of the survival horror game, Resident Evil 2 perfected it, making for one of the best action-horror games on the PlayStation. With the remake of Resident Evil 2 releasing next year on January 25, now would be a perfect time to get players refreshed or even introduced to the original game.
What made Resident Evil 2 so innovative was that it greatly expanded upon the concept of two playable protagonists. Known as the Zapping system, each character had their own particular campaign and perspective on events. After finishing one character's story, you'd move on to the next, and often deal with the choices from the previous run--such as one character leaving little to no ammo for the other survivor. It all made for an experience that tasked players to think ahead, which was a series hallmark. Though Resident Evil and Resident Evil 3 were fantastic games, the middle point of the trilogy is the game that best used all these aspects of survival horror, making for one of the PlayStation's best horror titles. -- Alessandro Fillari
The original 1999 Silent Hill has this eerily timeless quality that still produces a good scare in even long-time horror game veterans. Ironically, it's been able to stand the test of time by relying on the PlayStation's hardware limitations instead of trying to push for realistic graphics. The mysterious fog that blankets the town is supposed to hide that draw distance on the original PlayStation isn't very good, but it also keeps Silent Hill's frightening horrors hidden from you until they're within striking distance. It's terrifying to hear the soft sounds of something approaching and not being able to see what it is.
If the Resident Evil franchise is the primary inspiration behind shooter-heavy modern-day survival horror games like Dead Space and The Evil Within, then Silent Hill is the precursor to horror titles where your options for fighting back are very limited. For that alone, it deserves to be remembered, but Silent Hill is also a major influence for moving horror video games away from the Western-style of blood and gore and towards the Japanese style of psychological terror. Putting it on the PlayStation Classic is a good way of keeping the game from fading into grainy obscurity and will help dull the pain of losing PS4's Silent Hills. -- Jordan Ramee
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
While skateboarding was popular in the late '90s, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series elevated it to unbelievable levels and acted as somewhat of a gateway for many future skaters. This was done by way of an easy-to-learn, hard-to-master trick system that had players pulling off grinds, flips, and grabs in an attempt to land a high score. Of course, that was just the first game; Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 allowed you to link all of these tricks together into mind-bending combos. At first, these combos seemed impossible and only doable by those who made the game, but to the players who just didn't stop playing, they soon became second nature.
I can't count how many times I've played through each entry in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series. Even today, I'll throw the disc into my console just to speed through each level and revisit the virtual playgrounds that are burned into my mind. The game I revisit the most is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the original PlayStation, as its levels are some of my favorite in the series. However, none of them are quite as memorable as Warehouse from the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Paired with Superman by Goldfinger, it's my generation's version of Super Mario Bros.' 1-1.
Thanks to those licensed soundtracks, and the roster of real pro skaters, THPS 1 and 2 are not likely to be included on the PlayStation Classic, but that doesn't mean either shouldn't. This series is one of the best the PlayStation has ever seen. -- Mat Paget
Twisted Metal 2
A system like PlayStation Classic is surely meant to evoke nostalgia and represent what made the platform special back in the day. If so, an entry from the Twisted Metal series--one of the platform's defining exclusive franchises--is an essential inclusion.
There are plenty of Twisted Metal games to choose from, as a total of five were released on PS1. The easy choice is Twisted Metal 2: the final PS1 entry from David Jaffe and developer SingleTrac before 989 Studios took over and created a lesser copycat that lacked the soul of the first two games.
Twisted Metal 2 represents the best the series would have to offer until the PS2's Black in 2001. It offers a demolition derby-style arena filled with gun-equipped cars, with the simple goal of wiping out the competition. With a varied arsenal of weapons, distinct vehicles, and numerous secrets to uncover, it made for a killer multiplayer experience--which would pair nicely with the predominantly single-player lineup of games revealed for the PlayStation Classic so far. -- Chris Pereira